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A Struggling ESPN Lays Off Many On-Air Figures

A control room at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. The sports broadcaster was expected to lay off many on-air personalities on Wednesday


ESPN on Wednesday began another round of layoffs, this one aimed at on-air talent, perhaps the starkest sign yet of the financial reckoning playing out in sports broadcasting as cord-cutting proliferates.

ESPN is by far the biggest and most powerful entity in the industry, and it also may feel the sting more as viewers turn away from traditional ways of consuming live sports.

The network has lost more than 10 million subscribers over the past several years. At the same time, the cost of broadcasting major sports has continued to rise. ESPN committed to a 10-year, $15.2 billion deal with the N.F.L. in 2011; a nine-year, $12 billion deal with the N.B.A.; and a $7.3 billion deal for the college football playoffs, among many others.

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